Dr. David Plas

$3 Million Gift to Propel Brain Cancer Research at UC Brain Tumor Center

In late 2014, The Rev. Dr. Larry Paul “LP” Jones, was enjoying breakfast with his wife, Nancy, the Priest-In-Charge at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, when he stood up to get a cup of coffee and froze.

Nancy asked what was wrong, and LP couldn’t respond. The two did not know it then, but LP was battling the most aggressive form of brain cancer – glioblastoma.

In October 2014, LP was officially diagnosed.

“What kind of time do we have?” LP asked his physician. “I have a grandson due to be born next month, and one due in March. Will I see them?”

The physician told LP that he should see the first one.

“That was a whole lot of words without very many,” LP said.

LP and Nancy turned to the University of Cincinnati Neuroscience Institute, a collaboration between UC and UC Health, for help.

“A UC physician told me, ‘This is a very serious disease, but you’ve got a shot at some life,’” said LP.

Treatment commenced and LP beat the odds and was able to meet both grandchildren.

In March 2015, the Brain Tumor Center at the UC Neuroscience Institute received a $3 million gift from the Anna and Harold W. Huffman Foundation, of which LP serves as a trustee, and Nancy serves as president. The gift created an endowed chair and dedicated research program at the institute.

“While the gift likely won’t help LP, we hope others will benefit,” said Nancy at the time of the gift announcement. “We all hope for a cure. Until then, we hope researchers can find a way for people to live a quality life.”

The gift created The Anna and Harold W. Huffman Endowed Chair in Glioblastoma Experimental Therapeutics and The Glioblastoma Therapeutics Research Fund. One of the country’s most respected researchers David Plas, PhD, has assumed the position as chair and is now charged with developing a nationally recognized and funded glioblastoma research program.

“This gift provides our team the freedom to tackle the biggest problems in glioblastoma therapy,” Dr. Plas said. “Because of generous donors like the Huffman Foundation, we can pursue the most attractive opportunities that have the potential for being a home run in cancer treatment and care.”

Dr. Plas seeks to translate new findings from cancer biology studies into glioblastoma therapies. Research efforts will investigate new targets to help slow the spread of cancer and prevent chemotherapy resistance. He hopes to balance his approach for long-term payoff and near-term success.

“Dr. Plas is the ideal scientist to lead this new program and foster collaborations among researchers at UC and Children’s Hospital,” said Ronald Warnick, MD, medical director of the UC Brain Tumor Center and the John M. Tew, Jr., MD, Chair in Neurosurgical Oncology. “This endowed chair clearly demonstrates how partnerships with the community can accelerate cancer research and care in Cincinnati.”

Please visit ucbraintumorcenter.com to learn more about the life-changing work happening at the UC Brain Tumor Center.

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